What is Innovation Lab?

Innovation Lab is a rigorous, interdisciplinary, school-within-a-school model at Greenwich High School. This progressive and personalized model is designed and implemented by a dedicated team of GHS educators who are leveraging innovative teaching methods, project-based and blended learning strategies, and leading-edge technology applications, all within the larger infrastructure of GHS.

Innovation Lab is devoted to fostering creativity, curiosity, and purpose within an interdisciplinary and academically rigorous, college preparatory curriculum. Teachers blend core disciplines to create STEM and Humanities in a project-based approach. Students develop the skills and content knowledge they require by connecting to questions and topics of interest. With guidance, they discover their passions and impact the community at large.

Foundational Principles:

  • Cross-disciplinary approach to content and skill development
  • High levels of student-teacher collaboration and connection
  • Student agency and ownership of learning
  • Focus on metacognition and growth mindset
  • Project-based learning opportunities
  • Community involvement with real-world internship/mentoring
  • Regular public exhibition of student work
  • Technology as a dynamic tool for learning
  • Access to the resources available in the existing structure of GHS

Above: student vlog from STEM class.

Innovation Lab replaces a student’s English, Social Studies, Math, and Science courses at both the honors and college prep levels. Innovation Lab subjects are organized into two areas: STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) and the Humanities (Arts, English, Social Studies). The freshman program is Humanities (English 112/113/113A with Global Studies 112/113/113A) and Design Studio 9. The sophomore year five credit program includes English 212/213, US History 212/213, Algebra 2 A/B/Honors, Environmental Science (Honors Option available), and a Design Studio 10 elective which falls under the Computer Arts. The junior year program includes American and Modern World Literature, Civics and another Socials Studies elective, Precalculus 1/2/Honors or calculus, and Practical Physics/Physics/Honors Physics, and a Design Studio 11 elective which falls under the Computer Arts. Senior Year, InLab students take Design Studio 12 and either Science Research or Social Science Research.

Students’ courses are planned and taught together by a team of teachers and include overarching essential questions (for example, How can one new idea change everything?) to which projects are tied. Innovation Lab projects are real-world in the sense that they must serve a purpose outside of Greenwich High School. For the STEM Air, Soil, and Water Project students answered a question related to air, soil, and water quality in Greenwich, while for the STEM Battery Power project they designed and built devices that harness sustainable electric power to meet a personal or societal need.  For the Humanities Humanities Modernism Project students examined major paradigm shifts in History and culture.  Innovation Lab projects are designed to allow personalization: we know that human beings are most excited to learn when they have a personal connection to and an investment in what they’re learning.

alliancelogo2Generous Reaching Out Grants from the Greenwich Alliance for Education have supported initial research and development and ongoing professional development, as well as the purchased materials, supplies and equipment for our Makerspace and STEM classroom.

In general, the Greenwich Alliance for Education “mobilizes community resources to provide opportunities and services that foster educational success for all Greenwich Public School students.”

Greenwich Leadership Partners provides ongoing strategic guidance to the entire Innovation Lab team.

One Response to What is Innovation Lab?

  1. glichtman says:

    Congratulations on setting up this great program; if there is any way I can help, let me know! Am always happy to Skype in to talk to students about areas of mutual interest. My books and areas of work are at http://www.grantlichtman.com

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